We all know that networking is key to advancing in a career, but do you know who those contacts need to be? No, you don’t need to have your boss on speed dial to nail a raise. Instead, try to build relationships with these five types of people in your industry, all integral to getting ahead.
The guy that actually runs things
Ordinarily, we think the CEO runs a company, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Behind every boss or board of directors is an executive assitant that the bigwigs trust to get things done. They’re the ones that know everybody by name, can motivate the whole office in a single sentence, turn a boss’ hare-brained scheme into an actionable plan and often shield their co-workers when the head honcho goes on the attack. In short, they use their relationship with the brass to keep the workplace running smoothly and their colleagues in the know about what’s going on at the top of the ladder. Get them on your side and you’ll reap many of the aforementioned benefits.
The guy who gets you in the room
You know you’re great, but if your only audience is the colleague in the cube next to you, you’re sunk. You need someone that can put you in the same room as people who matter. This particular guy you want to network with is already on a project reporting to the bigwig you want to impress. It takes a bit of tact, but find a way you can help him out with an obstacle he’s encountered, thus ensuring he’ll bring you in on it. When you ace the meeting together, it’s a win-win and you’ll both be on the boss’ radar.
There’s always someone that will be better than you, so don’t fight ‘em, join ‘em. Whether he’s an industry vet or a young prodigy, he’ll be more than happy to teach you the tricks of his trade once you buddy up. As your professional relationship grows, you’ll be able to reach out to him in times of trouble, too.
The guy that knows everything
Like the aforementioned, this guy knows the ins and outs of the industry, but on a wider scale. Rather than contacts and skills, this person’s value comes from knowledge of practices, laws and other things you may have fallen asleep learning in college. In the context of an office, they can quickly answer your questions regarding policies, benefits and even the personalities of certain company clients.
The guy that knows everyone
Cultivating individual relationships can take a lot of time, and not everybody is in the business of making friendships, especially in the more cutthroat industries. Save some time by welcoming a more connected colleague into your social circle. They’ll be able to introduce you to the right people as you need them, and often only need you to do the same to return the favour.